Strategic Communication, MS

The Master of Science in Strategic Communication program empowers graduates to be leaders in the industry through an applied, communication-centric, solution-oriented perspective. The 100% online accelerated program is curated to our digital and diverse world as we challenge students to find answers to practical communications problems. Students can complete this program in as few as 12 months, giving you the flexibility and power to take on your education on your terms. Many of our classes are offered completely asynchronously giving you the power to get your master's degree while fulfilling your other responsibilities. Our faculty are passionate, professionally-focused and personable. We look forward to helping you meet your professional and educational goals. Apply today!

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What Will I Learn?

The Master of Science in Strategic Communication is ideal for those who want to:

  • Strengthen a communications career
  • Advance a career in communications
  • Prepare for further studies in communication

This program prepares students to identify and analyze select issues in media management from an applied, communication-centric, solution-oriented perspective.

  • Apply relevant theories to strategic communication issues in our increasingly interconnected world
  • Recognize public relations problems and develop strategic plans to address them
  • Understand the impact of globalization on public relations and how to write for audiences both in the U.S. and abroad
  • Engage and communicate with diverse audiences
  • Solve issues related to crisis communication, social media, management, storytelling, and law
  • Use analytical, data-driven research to inform decision making

Core courses in the program provide training in the theory and practice of strategic public relations. The culmination of your education is COM 603: Professional Project, in which you will conduct and analyze communication research and complete a professional project on behalf of a real-world client.

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have?

Shippensburg has a vibrant, caring community of faculty, students and staff. We’d like to invite you to join us through on-campus employment, leadership positions and hands-on learning experiences.

Students seeking employment can apply for the Department of Communication, Journalism and Media’s Graduate Assistantship (GA). The GA works closely with students and faculty to maintain the department labs, social media and more. Graduate Assistantships provide a tuition waiver and compensation for the work performed.

You can join the Graduate Student Association Board, and not just get involved in campus life, but also gain deeper insights into how institutions of higher education communicate messages. Academic grant opportunities also await more research-focused students, through the Graduate Research Grant Program. Students interested in gaining first-hand experiences about increasing diversity in the workplace can also be part of organizations through the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Graduate students can get involved with Ship’s student media organizations, including PRSSA, WSYC 88.7 FM, SUTV and The Slate.

Students can take up to six internship credits with academic advising.

Opportunities to present research are available through a variety of professional organizations. The department faculty belong to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC), the National Communication Association (NCA), and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).


PRNEWS Education A-List recognizes the best institutions of higher education for career advancement in PR and marketing communications. Their editorial staff examined factors such as curricula, diversity, faculty composition, academic awards and capstone courses. On- and off-campus offerings, such as internships,  are considered; as well as how the schools' curricula reflected the changing nature of communication.

Zemba headshot

Meet Matthew Zemba

“Our department truly stands out with our incredible faculty and student media organizations. The graduate classes I’ve taken and the professional project I’ve completed have really strengthened my resume and prepared me for a career after graduation.”

How Matthew found success at Ship

What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in public relations is expected to grow 13% over the next decade. [Link:] That means about 8,900 job openings are projected annually. The Strategic Communication program prepares you for jobs in:

  • Media relations manager
  • Publicist
  • Director of social and digital media
  • Campaign manager
  • Corporate communication consultant
  • Social issues advocate
  • Political strategist
  • Market research analyst
  • Internal communications manager
  • Communication specialist
  • Academic roles (e.g. university lecturer)
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Public relations director
  • Account executive
  • Vice president of public relations and communications
  • Social media strategist

You can find alumni of our program working at places like Duck Donuts, Cumulus Media, Penn State Health, FischTank PR, Washington Commanders, Mercersburg Academy, Pearson, Hershey Bears, Naval Supply Systems Command, Sodexo, Duke University, New York Jets, various government agencies and not for profit organizations.


Strategic Communications, M.S. Degree Plan

Full-Time (30 Credits)

First Year

Fall Semester: 6 Credits


Winter Semester: 6 Credits


Spring Semester: 6 Credits


Summer Semester: 12 Credits


Planning Notes for all students:

  1. 30 total credits required
  2. Students can being in any semester or term, including, fall, spring, winter or summer.